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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 64,697

Journal Archives

Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan


Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan

Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:00
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed


Militarism is like a lethal virus that takes as its first victim both historical memory and any sense of moral and social responsibility. In the United States and Israel, at the present moment, it is no longer one strain of ideology that permeates these societies; it is a general condition that gives meaning to almost all aspects of life. Incapable of thinking beyond military solutions to social problems, militarism absolves individuals and governments, if not the general public, of the horror produced by the weapons it builds; moreover, just as it erases the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it suggests that the hundreds of children killed in Gaza is a military necessity.

The apostles of militarism offer jobs to the public that engage in the production of organized violence; they preach war as a cleansing solution, while they sanitize language of any meaning, erasing the suffering, misery, and horror inflicted by their drone missiles, jets, Apache helicopters, and bombs. All that has to be invoked are the words "collateral damage" or "military necessity" and the death-laden actions produced by the new militarists disappear into the dark vocabulary of authoritarian doublespeak. War is no longer a source of alarm, but pride, and it has become an organizing principle of many societies. Informed by a kind of primitive tribalism, militarism enshrines a deadly type of masculinity that mythologizes violence and mimics the very terrorism it claims to be fighting. Militarism and war have not only changed the nature of the political order but the nature and character of American life.

When children are killed by Israeli missiles while playing on a beach in Gaza, the horror and sheer brutality of the murderous act is wiped away by the crude argument that such needless slaughter is a military necessity. There is no defense for killing children, regardless of whether it is done by the Israeli state, the United States, Hamas, or anyone else. We live in a time in which political illiteracy and moral tranquilization work in tandem to produce the authoritarian subject, willing to participate in their own oppression and the oppression of others. Thus, the silence over filling our prisons with poor people of color, treating desperate immigrant children as if they were vermin, and allowing elected officials to replace reason with forms of militant religious fundamentalism. What kind of moral arrangements does a society give up when there is no outrage over the fact that the United States supplies billions of dollars in armaments to other states and thus is complicit in the killing of young children and others through acts of state terrorism?

The militarists come from various political parties and are hooked into a market-driven logic that disdains thinking about social costs or the despair they create. They are unadulterated agents of cruelty and their power serves a corrupt form of casino capitalism that breathes and breeds the ideology and policies of the military-industrial-surveillance complex. In the United States, trillions are spent on wars that were based on and initiated with lies. At the same time, social services are cut, schools abandoned, infrastructures ignored so that the military can build F-35 jets at the cost of $200 million apiece - pieces of junk plagued by mechanical failures and a sober witness to the United States' unwillingness to use the money of war and violence to build a decent, democratic society in which vulnerability and care become the watchwords rather than violence and war. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25136-killing-machines-and-the-madness-of-militarism-from-gaza-to-afghanistan




Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan


Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan

Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:00
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed


Militarism is like a lethal virus that takes as its first victim both historical memory and any sense of moral and social responsibility. In the United States and Israel, at the present moment, it is no longer one strain of ideology that permeates these societies; it is a general condition that gives meaning to almost all aspects of life. Incapable of thinking beyond military solutions to social problems, militarism absolves individuals and governments, if not the general public, of the horror produced by the weapons it builds; moreover, just as it erases the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it suggests that the hundreds of children killed in Gaza is a military necessity.

The apostles of militarism offer jobs to the public that engage in the production of organized violence; they preach war as a cleansing solution, while they sanitize language of any meaning, erasing the suffering, misery, and horror inflicted by their drone missiles, jets, Apache helicopters, and bombs. All that has to be invoked are the words "collateral damage" or "military necessity" and the death-laden actions produced by the new militarists disappear into the dark vocabulary of authoritarian doublespeak. War is no longer a source of alarm, but pride, and it has become an organizing principle of many societies. Informed by a kind of primitive tribalism, militarism enshrines a deadly type of masculinity that mythologizes violence and mimics the very terrorism it claims to be fighting. Militarism and war have not only changed the nature of the political order but the nature and character of American life.

When children are killed by Israeli missiles while playing on a beach in Gaza, the horror and sheer brutality of the murderous act is wiped away by the crude argument that such needless slaughter is a military necessity. There is no defense for killing children, regardless of whether it is done by the Israeli state, the United States, Hamas, or anyone else. We live in a time in which political illiteracy and moral tranquilization work in tandem to produce the authoritarian subject, willing to participate in their own oppression and the oppression of others. Thus, the silence over filling our prisons with poor people of color, treating desperate immigrant children as if they were vermin, and allowing elected officials to replace reason with forms of militant religious fundamentalism. What kind of moral arrangements does a society give up when there is no outrage over the fact that the United States supplies billions of dollars in armaments to other states and thus is complicit in the killing of young children and others through acts of state terrorism?

The militarists come from various political parties and are hooked into a market-driven logic that disdains thinking about social costs or the despair they create. They are unadulterated agents of cruelty and their power serves a corrupt form of casino capitalism that breathes and breeds the ideology and policies of the military-industrial-surveillance complex. In the United States, trillions are spent on wars that were based on and initiated with lies. At the same time, social services are cut, schools abandoned, infrastructures ignored so that the military can build F-35 jets at the cost of $200 million apiece - pieces of junk plagued by mechanical failures and a sober witness to the United States' unwillingness to use the money of war and violence to build a decent, democratic society in which vulnerability and care become the watchwords rather than violence and war. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25136-killing-machines-and-the-madness-of-militarism-from-gaza-to-afghanistan



Chris Hedges: The Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense


from truthdig:


The Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense

Posted on Jul 23, 2014
By Chris Hedges


If Israel insists, as the Bosnian Serbs did in Sarajevo, on using the weapons of industrial warfare against a helpless civilian population then that population has an inherent right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The international community will have to either act to immediately halt Israeli attacks and lift the blockade of Gaza or acknowledge the right of the Palestinians to use weapons to defend themselves.

No nation, including any in the Muslim world, appears willing to intervene to protect the Palestinians. No world body, including the United Nations, appears willing or able to pressure Israel through sanctions to conform to the norms of international law. And the longer we in the world community fail to act, the worse the spiral of violence will become.

Israel does not have the right to drop 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on Gaza. It does not have the right to pound Gaza with heavy artillery and with shells lobbed from gunboats. It does not have the right to send in mechanized ground units or to target hospitals, schools and mosques, along with Gaza’s water and electrical systems. It does not have the right to displace over 100,000 people from their homes. The entire occupation, under which Israel has nearly complete control of the sea, the air and the borders of Gaza, is illegal.

Violence, even when employed in self-defense, is a curse. It empowers the ruthless and punishes the innocent. It leaves in its aftermath horrific emotional and physical scars. But, as I learned in Sarajevo during the 1990s Bosnian War, when forces bent on your annihilation attack you relentlessly, and when no one comes to your aid, you must aid yourself. When Sarajevo was being hit with 2,000 shells a day and under heavy sniper fire in the summer of 1995 no one among the suffering Bosnians spoke to me about wanting to mount nonviolent resistance. No one among them saw the U.N.-imposed arms embargo against the Bosnian government as rational, given the rain of sniper fire and the 90-millimeter tank rounds and 155-millimeter howitzer shells that were exploding day and night in the city. The Bosnians were reduced, like the Palestinians in Gaza, to smuggling in light weapons through clandestine tunnels. Their enemies, the Serbs—like the Israelis in the current conflict—were constantly trying to blow up tunnels. The Bosnian forces in Sarajevo, with their meager weapons, desperately attempted to hold the trench lines that circled the city. And it is much the same in Gaza. It was only repeated NATO airstrikes in the fall of 1995 that prevented the Bosnian-held areas from being overrun by advancing Serbian forces. The Palestinians cannot count on a similar intervention. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_palestinians_right_to_self-defense_20140723



Juan Cole: Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future


By Juan Cole


A Hamas rocket hit and destroyed a house in Yahoud, a town only a mile from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Tuesday, raising severe alarm in among the international airlines and leading most of them to cancel flights to Tel Aviv. The US Federal Aviation Administration called for a 24 hour moratorium on US flights to Israel, and United Airlines, U.S. Airways and Delta Air lines said they would cease flying there “until further notice.” The European Aviation Safety Agency likewise cautioned European airlines from flying to Israel, and Lufthansa and other major carriers cancelled their flights.

Israel’s Transportation Ministry, in its charming way, stridently denounced the airlines as accomplices of terrorists, saying “there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize…” In fact, the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine is obviously the context for the airlines being spooked. And, if a rocket can land one mile from the airport, it can land on a plane at the airport just as easily.

Israeli tourism brought in $11 billion last year, some 4.5% of its nominal GDP. Tourism employs 100,000 workers, two-thirds of them in the hotel industry. In other words, a full loss of tourism would cost Israel $30 mn a day and could idle nearly 3% of the country’s workforce. (Since El Al is still flying, there hasn’t been a full loss of tourism, but El Al is probably flying many planes that aren’t full and may take an economic hit on that account alone; jet fuel is expensive and nowadays full planes are necessary to avoid losing money).

Here are the major countries of origin for the tourists last year:

US: 623,000
Russia: 603,000 tourists
France 315,000
Germany 254,000
United Kingdom 217,000
Italy 173,000
Ukraine 134,000


A quarter of all visitors described themselves as pilgrims. Over half said they were Christians and a little over a quarter were Jewish. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.juancole.com/2014/07/devastates-fragile-apartheid.html



US Accused of Forcing EU to Accept Tar Sands Oil


from Inter Press, via Truthout:



Washington - Newly publicised internal documents suggest that U.S. negotiators are working to permanently block a landmark regulatory proposal in the European Union aimed at addressing climate change, and instead to force European countries to import particularly dirty forms of oil.

Environmentalists, working off of documents released through open government requests, say U.S. trade representatives are responding to frustrations voiced by the oil and gas industry here. This week, U.S. and E.U. officials are in Brussels for the sixth round of talks towards what would be the world’s largest free-trade area, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

“These documents show that the U.S. is simply not interested in an open, transparent (negotiation) process,” Bill Waren, a senior trade analyst with Friends of the Earth U.S., a watchdog group, told IPS. “Rather, U.S. representatives have been lobbying on the (E.U. regulatory proposal) in a way that reflects the interests of Chevron, ExxonMobil and others.”

The oil industry has repeatedly expressed concern over the European Union’s potential tightening of regulations around transport fuel emissions, first proposed in 2009 for what’s known as the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). Yet according to a report released Thursday by Friends of the Earth Europe, the sector now appears to have convinced the U.S. government to work to permanently block the implementation of this standard. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25088-us-accused-of-forcing-eu-to-accept-tar-sands-oil



Juan Cole: Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians?


Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians?
By Juan Cole | Jul. 22, 2014 |


Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal points to the overwhelming bias in US media against the Palestinians, calling NBC to account for having tried to remove an Arab-American reporter from Gaza after he reported the Israeli navy’s deliberate killing of children on the beach. She also points to the stranglehold the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby has on congressional politics toward Israel. She doesn’t mention but should the pressure organizations like CAMERA, well-heeled and powerful fanatics devoted to punishing American journalists who tell the truth about Israel and Palestine. I actually think NBC is better than some others on this issue, so it is a little unfortunate that they should take the brunt of Jebreal’s understandable frustration.

I don’t think either of the people she was talking to understood the problem. The show begins with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu and promises more of him. No Palestinian leader is interviewed or apparently considered for an interview! It is alleged to Jebreal that her being allowed to complain on air at all is a mercy (she isn’t actually allowed to say much about the war). It is also alleged that just reporting on all the children the Israeli military has killed is somehow even-handed; in fact if the killings are represented as necessary that isn’t true. Almost no US media admits that indiscriminate fire in civilian areas is a war crime.

There isn’t actually any doubt about US media bias against the Palestinians. Yousef Munayyar looked at CNN’s coverage of the 2012 Gaza flare-up.

Mohamad Elmasry summarizes the study:

” It revealed that a total of 45 Israeli officials were interviewed by CNN, compared to just 20 Palestinian officials. An ongoing, but incomplete, analysis of this year’s violence by the Palestine Center shows that this is happening once more. Between 30 June and 9 July , CNN interviewed a total of 17 Israeli officials, but just one Palestinian official.”


As Greg Philo notes below, it isn’t just a matter of who is interviewed and how often, though that is important. It is also a matter of history and context. From most American media you would assume that the Israelis were minding their own business and the Palestinians of Gaza just irrationally started firing rockets at them. With rare exceptions, we aren’t told that most truces have been broken by Israel, not Hamas. We aren’t told that over 70% of Gaza’s population used to live in Israel and was ethnically cleansed and left penniless. We aren’t told that Israel has a blockade on Gaza that does not allow it to export most of what it produces, that this blockade has thrown 40% of the working population into unemployment and left 56% of families food insecurity (just on the verge of going to bed hungry). We aren’t told that Israeli occupation has left 90% of people in Gaza without potable water. We aren’t told that Gaza’s Palestinians demand an end to being kept in a big concentration camp. If Israelis were being treated as the Palestinians are, what do you think they would do about it? ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.juancole.com/2014/07/jebreal-against-palestinians.html



Libertarian Belief in Absolute Property Rights Leads to Climate Change Denialism


Libertarian Belief in Absolute Property Rights Leads to Climate Change Denialism
Posted on July 20, 2014 by Lambert Strether


By David Collyer, Policy Director at Prosper Australia.

Cross-posted from Macrobusiness.



Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his government do not believe in climate change. They have erased all of the measures Rudd and Gillard introduced to shift Australia to a low-carbon future.

If they merely doubted climate change, they would simply zero-price the behavior-changing settings and await more information. This is usually what cautious, evidence-based conservatives do. But no, their beliefs trump the science and they are acting boldly to turn those beliefs into law.

Does ignoring science seem as bizarre to you as it does to me?

When anti-abortionists talk of beliefs, they refer to the biblical injunction “thou shalt not kill” and, agree or not, there is a certain logic and coherence to their views. Yet underlying values seem absent from climate change denier rhetoric, or at best remains unexplained. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/07/libertarians-unable-see-climate-change.html



The Untold Story In the NSA Spying Scandal: Blackmail


via Naked Capitalism:



Cross-Posted from Washington’s Blog



The Untold Story In the NSA Spying Scandal: Blackmail


It is well-documented that governments use information to blackmail and control people.

The Express reported last month:

British security services infiltrated and funded the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange in a covert operation to identify and possibly blackmail establishment figures, a Home Office whistleblower alleges.

***

Whistleblower Mr X, whose identity we have agreed to protect, became a very senior figure in local government before retiring a few years ago.

***

He has given a formal statement to that effect to detectives from Operation Fernbridge ….

***

“And he said was being funded at the request of Special Branch which found it politically useful to identify people who were paedophiles….”


Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 made gross indecency a crime in the United Kingdom, which included male gay sex. The Amendment was so frequently used to blackmail gay Brits that it was dubbed the “Blackmailer’s Charter“.

There is widespread speculation that Pope Benedict resigned because of sexual blackmail.

And the American government has a long history of blackmailing people – including high-level officials- with knowledge of their sexual peccadilloes.

.....(snip).....

FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds alleged under oath that a recently-serving Democratic Congresswoman was secretly videotaped – for blackmail purposes – during a lesbian affair. There have been allegations of blackmail of gay activities within the U.S. armed forces for years.

And even the raw data on American citizens collected by the NSA is shared with Israel. This likely includes Congress members and other politicians, as well. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/07/exclusive-high-level-nsa-whistleblower-says-blackmail-huge-unreported-part-mass-surveillance.html



The Brink of Mass Extinction


Dahr Jamail | The Brink of Mass Extinction

Monday, 21 July 2014 09:24
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | News Analysis


"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
- Native American proverb


March through June 2014 were the hottest on record globally, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In May - officially the hottest May on record globally - the average temperature of the planet was .74 degrees Celsius above the 20th century baseline, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The trend is clear: 2013 was the 37th consecutive year of above-average global temperatures, and since the Industrial Revolution began, the earth has been warmed by .85 degrees Celsius. Several scientific reports and climate modeling show that at current trajectories (business as usual), we will see at least a 6-degree Celsius increase by 2100.

In the last decade alone, record high temperatures across the United States have outnumbered record low temperatures two to one, and the trend is both continuing and escalating.

While a single extreme weather event is not proof of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), the increasing intensity and frequency of these events are. And recent months have seen many of these.

A record-breaking heat wave gripped India in June, as temperatures hovered at 46 degrees Celsius, sometimes reaching 48 degrees Celsius. Delhi's 22 million residents experienced widespread blackouts and rioting, as the heat claimed hundreds of lives.

Also in June, Central Europe cooked in unseasonably extreme heat, with Berlin experiencing temperatures over 32 degrees Celsius, which is more than 12 degrees hotter than normal. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/25051-dahr-jamail-the-brink-of-mass-extinction



David Sirota: Is Cheap, Public Internet Possible?


Is Cheap, Public Internet Possible?
Major broadband companies face a new competitor in local government.

BY DAVID SIROTA


(In These Times) The business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with corporate forces demanding the government squelch competition and halt the expansion of those high-quality services. Whether and how federal officials act may ultimately shape the future of America’s information economy.

The front line in this fight is Chattanooga, Tennessee, where officials at the city’s public electric utility, EPB, realized that smart-grid energy infrastructure could also provide consumers super-fast Internet speeds at competitive prices. A few years ago, those officials decided to act on that revelation. Like a publicly traded corporation, the utility issued bonds to raise resources to invest in the new broadband project. Similarly, just as many private corporations ended up receiving federal stimulus dollars, so did EPB, which put those monies into its new network.

The result is a system that now provides the nation’s fastest broadband speeds at prices often cheaper than the private competition. As the Chattanooga Times Free Press noted a few years back, “EPB offers faster Internet speeds for the money, and shows equal pep in both uploading and downloading content, with Comcast and AT&T trailing on quickness.” Meanwhile, EPB officials tell The Washington Post that the utility’s telecom services have become “a great profit center”–an assertion confirmed by a Standard & Poor credit upgrade notice pointing out that the utility “is now covering all costs from telephone, video and Internet revenue, as well as providing significant financial benefit to the electric system.”

This is great news for local businesses and taxpayers–but it is terrible news for private telecom companies, who not only fear being outcompeted and outperformed in Chattanooga, but also fear the Chattanooga model being promoted in other cities. In response, those telecom firms have been abandoning the standard argument about the private sector. Indeed, as the Times Free Press reported last week, rather than insisting the private sector has inherent advantages over the public sector, the firms have gone to court insisting “that EPB, as a public entity, would have an edge when competing against private companies, which would be at a disadvantage when facing an entity owned by taxpayers.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/16970/The_Future_of_Internet_in_the_Public_Sector


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